foods and cuisines

Beef Suya | The Taste of the Streets

beef suya

Visitors will notice this street food plenty of times while exploring casual dining in Nigeria. Thin slices of beef are marinated in an array of spices- a combination that’ll ignite your mouth. Typical spices used include roaster peanut powder, cayenne, and ginger.

Making the beef this way was popular with the Hausa and Fulani people. They were groups of nomads that had unique ways of preserving meats.

You won’t see this dish made much in a home, but you can get plenty from suya spots along many roads in the country. It’s often served with tomatoes and onions as well as pepper sauce.

Suya is Nigerian street food at its finest—think nutty, spicy beef threaded onto skewers then grilled, the finished sticks cradled in paper or foil with a side of fresh tomatoes, sliced red onions, and a sprinkling of yajin kuli. Yajin kuli is made from yaji—a blend of chiles, ginger, garlic, onions, salt and other spices—and ground kuli kuli, which is essentially dehydrated and defatted groundnut (peanut) paste. Suya originated in the north of Nigeria, where the knowledge and mastery of meat is second to none.

Kuli kuli is made by grinding roasted groundnuts until the mixture almost reaches a nut butter consistency. Often ground chiles and ginger are included in the mix. Water is added and then the mixture is kneaded to form a dough, and, in the process, the oil—groundnut oil—is expelled. The resulting dough is shaped into sticks, balls, crackers, and other shapes and deep-fried in groundnut oil. The process stabilizes the kuli kuli, and it can be kept at room temperature without going rancid.

Tools You’ll Need to make Beef Suya

  • Sharp Knife – To cut the beef into strips.
  • Skewers
  • Brush – To brush oil on the meat.
  • Oven rack – To grill in the oven.

Beef Suya Ingredients

  • Beef- Boneless steak. I used rib eye steak for this post.
  • Suya Spice – Also called Yaji. Contains peanuts, ginger, and other spices. Check my homemade suya spice recipe to make yours in 5 minutes.
  • Oil – Vegetable or Sunflower oil.
  • Stock Cube – Popularly used in Nigerian cuisine is Maggi cubes or Knorr cubes. I use Maggi cube.
  • Salt

How To Make Beef Suya

  • Cut the steak across the grain into thin strips.
  • Add stock cube, suya spice, and salt to the beef strips. Mix well, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Bring out the marinated beef and thread on pre-soaked skewers. Apply more yaji all over then brush with oil.
  • Arrange the skewered beef on an oven rack then grill in the oven at a temperature of 175C (fan) for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the beef to the other side and grill for another 10 minutes.

    Bring out of the oven, remove Suya from skewers, sprinkle with more suya spice, and serve with sliced onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers. You can also add cabbage.

What to serve with  Beef Suya





Agege bread

Jollof rice

How to Store Beef Suya

Wrap in foil or put in an airtight container then store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. It can be reheated in the oven or microwave from frozen.

To reheat, arrange on a baking paper lined oven tray and bake at a temperature of 170 C for 5 minutes or till heated through. If reheating in the microwave, microwave at high for 2 minutes or till heated through. Be careful so it does not dry out.

Tips On Making Suya

  • Slice the beef in thin strips against the grain.
  • Be generous with the Suya spice.
  • Soak the skewers in cold water for 2-6 hours to prevent it or minimize burning in the oven.
  • If not using homemade suya spice, make sure you use a good brand as this will determine the taste.
  • Leave the beef to marinate for atleast 30 minutes so as to infuse the flavors.
  • This recipe makes use of peanuts and not suitable for people with nut allergies.

What is the best beef for Suya

Sirlion, Rib eye or flank steak, are good cuts.

What does suya taste like

It tastes like spicy barbequed meat with peanut spice.

What is Beef Suya

Spicy barbequed beef made with peanuts, ginger, pepper, and other spices.


  • Calories: 421kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 89mg
  • Sodium: 149mg
  • Potassium: 625mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Vitamin A: 566IU
  • Vitamin C: 13mg
  • Calcium: 45mg
  • Iron: 3mg


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